Economic sanctions could disrupt the delivery of medical supplies to Russia

Pharmaceutical companies work to ensure that medicines and medical devices are readily available in Russian.

Drugmakers and medical devices companies caution that their ability to continuously sell their products to Russia may be affected by economic sanctions imposed on the country. Economic sanctions have been placed over Russia’s major banks in retribution over the invasion of Ukraine. United States, Europe, Britain and Canada have levied sanctions against Russia, however the sanctions don’t apply to medicinal products and medical devices as the industry has an obligation under international humanitarian law to continuously supply medical products. The MedTechEurope spokesperson stated, "The freezing of bank transfers could indeed have an impact on the export of medical devices from the EU to Russia, and we are actively looking into the extent of this and will see how the situation evolves."

Large pharmaceutical companies such as Denmark’s Novo Nordisk and Lundbeck, Switzerland’s Novartis, U.S based Eli Lilly and Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline have stated that they are working to make sure that patients have access to medications. Novo Nordisk stated it would do, "all we can to maintain supply in Ukraine and Russia" but they expect sanctions to make this task more difficult. Novo Nordisk noted in an emailed statement, "The supply of medicines may be indirectly affected by sanctions in other areas, and we will do whatever we can to ensure the citizens of Russia receive their life-saving medication." Though drugmakers have committed to supply medications, shipping group A.P Moller-Maersk cautioned that shipments such as medical supplies to Russia risk being damaged or spoiled as a result of delays at ports and customs.